Recent Articles
Oct
21

Don’t Should on your Parents

Don’t Should on your Parents

I love the start of the new school year. Everything is fresh and clean. It’s a fantastic opportunity to set goals for my classroom and for myself. These goals typically are phrased as comparatives and superlatives, learning from past experiences, wanting to get it “right.”

Read More
Oct
7

Reclaiming Work as Joyous and Fulfilling: A Montessori Mission

Reclaiming Work as Joyous and Fulfilling: A Montessori Mission

The child, unlike the adult, is not on his way to death. He is on his way to life. His work is to fashion a man in the fullness of his strength. By the time the adult exists, the child has vanished. So the whole life of the child is an advance toward perfection, toward a greater completeness. From this we may infer that the child will enjoy doing the work needed to complete himself. The child’s life is one in which work–the doing of one’s duty–begets joy and happiness. For adults, the daily round is more often depressing.

–Dr. Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind (page 30)

Read More
Sep
26

The Five Characteristics of Play—And of Montessori Work

The Five Characteristics of Play—And of Montessori Work

If you observe children in a Montessori preschool program, you’ll notice that children’s “work” has all the key characteristics of play. A very thoughtful article by Peter Grey in Psychology Today identifies five such key characteristics.

Read More
Aug
23

An Open Letter To New Elementary Parents

An Open Letter To New Elementary Parents

Soon enough our early elementary classrooms will be filling once again with children excited to begin the new school year. Among the happy faces will be those of the youngest children, those who are making the leap into the second plane of development and experiencing for the first time the elementary environment that we will have so carefully prepared for them. In all the excitement of welcoming the new children, let us not forget their parents – for their parents, too, may be new to the elementary and just as much in transition as their children.

Read More
Aug
5

Sportsmanship

Sportsmanship

The little boy would not have stood out in a grocery store, or sitting at his desk in second grade. On the little league baseball field, everybody noticed him. He was lanky and awkward, uncoordinated in ways that were painfully obvious every time he picked up a ball or a bat. When Sean stood up to bat, he wore the serious, determined expression of a boy who begged his parents to let him play, but he never made it to first base.

Read More
Jul
26

Play vs. Work: A Wrong Alternative

Play vs. Work: A Wrong Alternative

Recently, I’ve read several articles in which articulate, well-informed commentators caution parents against emphasizing academics for preschool children, and which advocate “developmentally appropriate play-based preschools” as a better alternative.

Read More
Jul
17

Parenting Advice from America’s Worst Mom

Parenting Advice from America’s Worst Mom

Here’s a lovely little letter I just received that ended thusly:

….People like you that just send their kids out for the vultures of the world because you THINK you are doing them a favor, are horrible, lazy, undeserving so-called parents. What a shame that God would bless you with something for which you show such little disregard.

And you have a nice day, too!

Read More
Jul
9

Through the Eyes of Delight*

Through the Eyes of Delight*

Our work as adults, parents and school, is to see our own children and those of our community through the eyes of delight. This is not easy work; it is hard work, but it is the work that matters most for our community and our children.

Read More
Jun
27

Summertime and the Montessori Child

Summertime and the Montessori Child

For children who are at home during the summer break, parents will wish to work diligently with slowing the pace of life. Children will savor the leisurely passage of time in which they can relish individual choices, uninterrupted play, ample rest and sleep, unhurried meals and unplugged screens. Here are just a few ideas of how a child can fill her long lovely summer days and return to school refreshed, nourished and eager:

Read More
Jun
18

Keep Learning Going All Summer – Ideas for Children Ages 9-12

Keep Learning Going All Summer – Ideas for Children Ages 9-12

Whenever you feel like turning on the TV or playing computer games, first come get this list of ideas and pick something from it to do before you spend any time in front of a screen. Then, if you still want to sit in front of a screen, set a timer for 30 minutes and make yourself turn off the electronics when the timer goes off. Be sure to limit yourself to no more than one hour of combined screen time per day.

Read More
May
13

The Original One World Schoolhouse

The Original One World Schoolhouse

At the end of the day, however, the fact is that we educate ourselves. We learn, first of all, by deciding to learn, by committing to learning. This commitment allows, in turn, for concentration.

Read More
May
9

Revolutionary Mothers

Revolutionary Mothers

Motherhood is always a revolution, a before and after event unlike any other. Before the birth of a child, a woman is uniquely herself in one way. When she becomes a mother, her life is forever different. Eating, sleeping and working will never feel the same. Simple decisions become complicated.

When a mom does her job well, her adult children achieve independence and leave home feeling strong, internally motivated by the knowledge their mother believed they were worth fighting for.

Revolutionary mothers alter the course of human history one life at a time, launching their grown-up children in to the world with confidence and a few good stories to inspire from within.

Read More
May
7

What You Need to Know About Montessori and Play

What You Need to Know About Montessori and Play

Dr. Angeline Lillard, professor of Psychology at the University of Virginia, author of Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius, as well as several academic articles on Montessori, and Montessori speaker and advocate, has a new article in the American Journal of Play: Playful Learning and Montessori Education. It’s long, dense but readable, and bristling with objectivity, academic citations, and peer-reviewed research.

Read More
Apr
22

The Value of Not Knowing

The Value of Not Knowing

With a dismissive gesture of the hand, Paula replied, “Nah, don’t ask her. She doesn’t know anything! I saw a chemistry book in the library, let’s look there.”

Read More
Apr
5

Only in a Montessori Classroom

Only in a Montessori Classroom

I recently visited a Montessori school in Arizona and had the opportunity to observe in the toddler classroom. On this particular morning there were eight children present, the youngest being 18 months of age and the oldest close to 30 months. It was toward the end of the morning, and the children were choosing their own activities. One little boy was using the colorful wooden rings of a stacking toy, while nearby another was working on his buttoning skills. Several children were engaged in art activities – coloring, pasting shapes on paper, and modeling clay – while others were matching objects to corresponding pictures.

Read More